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Football Signing Day Press Conference Quotes
Release: 02/04/2004
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Feb. 4, 2004

General Comments: "This was quite an effort on behalf of our staff. It speaks well of what this university has to offer and this city. It's a great place to visit, it's a great city to live in and we still have a proud tradition as a program. Jamie Koehler is the Recruiting Assistant here in the office and she did a great job. She deserves a lot of credit for all the detail that goes into planning a recruiting weekend, everything from transportation to test scores, she's terrific."

On biggest needs when recruiting: "The number one thing that we're going to make a commitment to is making sure that our line of scrimmage situation is always deep. We created more depth there, I think you'll see that this spring. We have eight scholarship linemen. This group answers a lot of those questions in terms of the amount of linemen being in the program. It may not answer next year's question of depth on the offensive line, but we did not go out and identify junior college players who we thought could make us immediately better. We looked and looked and didn't see any. We still have depth problems on next year's team, but once these youngsters grow I think you'll see a lot of quality line of scrimmage players. I think it's a really high caliber group of linemen on both sides of the ball. We wanted to know if they were tough and if they could graduate from the University of Washington. We asked a lot of tough questions of the guys in this group."

On tough questions by recruits: "I got asked about the length of my contract and about the attention last summer and what happened and what's going on and where was this all going to end and there were some questions I couldn't answer, I can't answer every question. I talked to them about this place, this city, this university and the tradition here."

On recruits: "They all jumped out at us, if they didn't jump out at us we weren't going to recruit them. All of these kids when you turned the video on were making plays and they jumped out, they were the dominant players in the game. Obviously you take a guy like Keauntea Bankhead and you notice him warming up, or someone like Matt Tuiasosopo. We just felt like those were two in-state guys that were an absolute must to come to Washington. We felt regardless of anything else, if those two guys weren't on our list that we would have felt very good about this class. The fact that both of them are here is I think a marvelous thing for the University of Washington. It's a good thing for those guys too because they get to go to a good school. Also, the speed of our linebackers, Walt Winter and Trenton Tuiasosopo. If you've ever seen Trenton wrestle, you'd better go because it doesn't last very long. Someone like Dan Howell who's going to run 10.7, 10.8 this year. He moves like a fullback, but we're going to play him as a linebacker. Johnie Kirton, a 240-pound back, we haven't had a back like that for awhile with that kind of speed. We just got lucky that that guy stayed and came to school at the University of Washington. A lot of these guys jump out at you and they're big. The other thing about this group is I see a lot of youngsters who can play on both sides of the ball. It's a real athletic group of people that are coming here next fall."

On freshmen making the depth chart: "I think there's a good chance that one of these freshmen linemen will be in the two-deep on both sides of the ball. If a guy is strong and mature and looks like he can handle schematically what we do when he gets here, then a couple of these guys will have the chance to be in the two-deep next fall."

On junior college transfers: "I'll start with Dashon Goldson who we felt like was the best junior college safety in the country. We've had to repair his shoulder since he's been here. It was hurt for a year, but he played with it, our doctors said this guy must be really tough to play with an injured shoulder and play as well as he did. He won't play spring football, but he'll be ready to go in the fall. Rashaad Goodrum and Josh Okoebor will be here spring quarter for spring football. We've had our eye on Goodrum for a couple of years. He's a transfer from LA-Valley; he's a defensive end, a highly recruited athlete, very fast. Okoebor was at junior college tryouts. He is a guy who has three to play three. We've very excited about those junior college players."

On Matt Tuiasosopo playing baseball: "He's a great baseball player, I've had several people tell me he's the best baseball player in the state of Washington. I certainly would be excited about him playing here for the Huskies. In my conversations with Matt I've made it known that I'm very excited about him playing baseball for the University of Washington. It's really about what he prefers and what he thinks is best for him."

On Matt compared to Marcus (Tuiasosopo): "I saw Marcus play twice his senior year. I think he's a little ahead of where Marcus was, he's a little more polished in terms of quarterback and throwing. He's a little taller than Marcus; he seems to have that same ability to inspire the people around him. He's a dominant type of guy, he runs the option, but I also think he has the chance to be a great thrower. He has all the tools, he can do everything, and he can run he can throw, and he's tough, he can lead, he can run the option, and he's everything you're looking for in a high school quarterback. I think his future's real bright."

On red-shirting Matt Tuiasosopo: "I think a red-shirt is likely, I think he'd like to red-shirt, I think our depth at quarterback can make that happen."

On players qualifying academically: "I think everyone will qualify. Is there some work to do, yes, there are some guys who have some work to do. We have a plan in place with everyone on the list, as to what they have to do to qualify and clear the clearinghouse."

On Bankhead: "I think he's a guy who will remind you of Lawyer (Milloy) at safety with those kinds of skills and toughness. He also caught 22 passes in one game. He gets 22 or 24 a night in basketball. He's a guy who can do a lot of things, but I see him being a defensive safety. I think he has great leadership ability, he had a lot to do with Ballard's rise into the top echelon of 4A football and he is a real talent."

On size of incoming players: "If you take a look at everyone's list and they're all big. There aren't very many 6'2", 260 offensive linemen signing in division one anymore. Everyone has big, huge people. These kids are nice size, but everyone's nice size."

On what looked for in defensive ends: "We're looking for athletes, I'm looking for speed off the corner. We have lacked a dominant pass rusher probably since the 2001 Rose Bowl team. I think we have some guys now who will give us that. When playing against teams who throw the ball as prolifically as they do in the Pac-10, you have to be able to pressure the passer with four guys and not always rely on your blitz packages to get to the quarterback."

On whether other schools were bringing up last summer's events in recruiting: "Maybe they were, maybe they weren't, I don't know and I didn't ask them. There was a lot in the paper nationally. I had no sense that people were bad-mouthing or using it. I had no sense that it made a difference in the quality of this class. People we were real serious about we made clear that we're not all screwed up here. This is an awesome place in an awesome city."

On lack of quality facilities hurting recruiting: "It's still the University of Washington, we have a lot of nice facilities here, I mean, walk around. A beautiful stadium, great indoor, great weight room, nice locker room, unbelievable campus."

On Kirton's shot at running back: "I told Johnie that if he came to Washington that he'd be the only tailback in his class. I like our backs, but we don't have a big back on our team and Johnie's a big back. I think we need that in our offense. I felt that was the way to go, we have small, really quick, but we didn't have anyone with size."

On the philosophy with receivers: "We signed seven last year and had Jordan Slye from the year before and Charles, so I didn't feel there was a need to give a scholarship to anyone else, recruit anyone else at that position."

On chances of more signees: "I don't think so, I'm not going to say no because you never know. This is probably the group we'll go with. We don't have anyone else right now that we're talking with or are still making up their mind. Maybe if someone jumped out, but I don't envision that."

On changes in offensive philosophy: "We haven't sat down as a staff and put together what the plan is. I think it'll look a lot like it's looked like with the option parts of it in prior years. For the most part you'll see what you've seen, but it's no secret that we'd like to have a little more option in our package."

On what kind of player Gilbertson looks for: "I think it's the University of Washington you're looking for. Guys that really buy into our program are excited about the tradition, those kinds of things. I want to coach tough kids who want to win and get a degree from the university and who want to have some fun."

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